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Weekly News Update


GENERAL - White spot syndrome has forced a large aquaculture farming company to stop shrimp production in Mozambique, whilst in the EU, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have banned the practice of discards in the waters of Skagerrak.

White spot syndrome in Mozambique has caused Aquapesca to indefinitely suspend prawn production.

Eight hundred people are expected to be put out of work.

The company says that for production to resume, huge investment is required to change existing facilities and fish farming systems.

Aquapesca farms 350 hectares of shrimp farm ponds, as well as quality control and pathology laboratories and a shrimp processing facility.

White spot syndrome is a contagious disease of crustaceans. There is no cure for the virus which causes high and rapid mortality in infected population.

With increasing pressure from the public and NGOs, discards will be banned in the waters of Skagerrak as of January 2013.

In order to make a ban on discards possible, higher quotas for the area have been agreed by Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, stated: “A ban on discards in Skagerrak marks a milestone in our efforts to ensure sustainable management of our joint marine resources.

“We are seeing the issue of discards on the agenda both regionally and globally. In this context, Norway, Sweden and Denmark wish to be in the forefront by implementing a ban on discards in the waters of Skagerrak."

Research published by the Food Standards Agency shows that 76 per cent of oysters tested from UK oyster growing beds contained norovirus. Norovirus causes outbreaks of gastroenteritis.

It is difficult to assess the potential health impact of these findings, as the available research techniques are not able to differentiate between infectious and non-infectious norovirus material within the oysters. Furthermore, a safe limit for norovirus has not been established.

Charlotte Johnston